Head for a monopod

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by Russ Smith, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. I managed to pick up a Gitzo G1578L from eBay for a very good price.

    I want to use it only with my D2X and 200-400 VR.

    What head do you recommend that will carry the weight?

    I have a G1548 that I have my Wimberley head on it for my 600mm so I don't want to duplicate that setup.

    Russ
     
  2. JB

    JB

    502
    May 27, 2005
    Washington, DC
    I don't normally use a head on my monopod. I tilt it as needed for elevation +/- and use the lens collar to switch from portrait to landscape. That said at the moment I have the Manfrotto as shown on the RRS site here...
    http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/tutorials/monopods/index.html

    I have used a D2H/X & 70-200 on the Manfrotto without any hint of a problem despite the fact that this combo weighs in over the Manfrotto spec's. Realizing that the 200-400 is larger, the Manfrotto is cheap - not much lost if it doesn't work out.
     
  3. JB

    I have looked at those but I am concerned over the maximum load capacity of only 5.6 pounds.

    Russ
     
  4. I use a Manfrotto 352RC ballhead on my mono. No problem at all supporting my D1x with the AF 300 f:2.8 (my heaviest).
    I like to be able to quick-adjust the head on my mono and find a quick-release ballhead most versatile for this.
    On my tripod I have a 3 way regular head, which I think is most practical for that application.
     
  5. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    I use an acratech ball head for using on my monopod with my heavy lenses (200-400VR) and I find it great. I need an adjustable ball head to tilt and move when sitting and shooting with it from bleachers and auditoriums since I can't always tilt the monopod because of seats/room

    I highly recommend it. Sample photo of the pro model which is different than their regular model since it will not go vertical, but is easier for monopod use:

    http://www.hoothollow.com/TIPS 2002-2003/Tip-October 2003.html

    Wade
     
  6. I like this setup. It's simple and lightweight.
     
  7. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    IMHO the Bogen 3232 head is not sufficient for the 200-400 + D2x, especially if you might be adding flash/bracket. I found I just couldn't tighten down the head enough to keep the rig from flopping all over the place when I carried it over my shoulder.

    I use the Markins M10L ballhead on my monopod and it works well with the 200-400. Granted the ballhead offers more freedom than is absolutely necessary for a monopod, but at least the M10 is sturdy enough. For me mounting the lens directly to the monopod is not option because it limits your shooting angle too much.
     
  8. I don't seem to have the problem of not tightening it down enough but it does get tough to tighten really tight. Too bad RRS doesn't make a dedicated monopod head.
     
  9. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Just as a further note, the Acratec can be tightened down very easiy, flung over the shoulder and it does not move with my 200-400VR and camera dn 1.4 or 1.7 tele. Very safe to carry over the shoulder in this method.
     
  10. With either the Acratech or a conventional ballhead aren't you fighting the lens to keep it from flopping over to one side or another? Don't get me wrong I love my B1 ballhead but when it comes to long glass I slap on the Sidekick because it's just so much easier to use. I can't imagine using a ballhead on a monopod and being comfortable (maybe it's just me). Admitedly, the Bogen isn't the most elegant solution but it only allows the lens to move in one plane - if I want to swing left or right I can move my body and still keep the lens pointed on the subject.
     
  11. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Geof I haven't found it to be a problem. But I don't really work with the ballhead loosened. What I'll do is loosen it long enough to get the degree of tilt I need (if any) and then tighten it up. So it's really not that different than using the 3232 except that it's much sturdier and easier to tighten.
     
  12. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    There could be some sample variation at play here, and it could be that I over-tightened mine a few times in the past. But the D2x + 200-400 + TC-14 + flash + RRS flash bracket rings in around 12lbs which is more than twice what the 3232 is rated for. Even if they're conservative in their rating (and I think they are, IMHO the same rig as above but with the 70-200vr is fine), that just seems like pushing it to me.
     
  13. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Geof,

    I, as Jeff does, use the ball head to achieve my set level of tilt. Only occasionally do I keep the ball head a bit loose and the pan loosened, but when I do this, for example in stadiums, I am able to adjust the acratech enough so I can move the tilt a bit if needed and not have to worry about tilting the whole monopod. As noted I primarily use it always fixed and locked down tight after setting my adjustment.

    Another example, If I am out with the big lens and I am shooting raptors in trees, trying to get the tilt on the static monopod is difficult, but with a head, I adjust the head to get close to the angle and only tilt the main shaft to fine tune. I nearly always swivel the entire monopod for panning, usually don't use the panning on the head. That stays locked down 98% of the time.

    The acratech is conservatively rated for 25lbs, and it actually can hold a lot lot more.

    The swivel style of the bogen is great, but the entire unit needs to be a bit stouter and be able to lock down tight for carrying purposes.

    Also, one other use, when I shoot from the car, I place the monopod in the seat next to me, and I shoot out the window, I can adjust the head for tilt up or down easily, without trying to move my body up or down.

    Cheers,

    Wade
     
  14. Point taken on the rating of the Bogen. I don't think it's going to break even with 12 lbs but holding tight with a long lens supporting that much weight is probably not ideal. Come to think of it I guess one could flop the ball head over and use it that way (pre-flopped!). Seems like RRS or Kirk could make a nice monopod head if they put their minds to it though.
     
  15. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Maybe we should do something, only would take a few thousand dollars in startup costs and a lot of thousands in manufacturing equipment on hand. :) Strongly agree, Kirk or RRS should do something, either company would do a first rate job. Keep the price around $175.00, and they would sell like hotcakes, less than a full head, but you could still get outstanding quality for that price.

    Cheers,

    Wade
     
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